Dallas — JQ is part of the project team working on the first stand-alone dining hall on the University of North Texas (UNT) campus in Denton, Texas. The new dining hall is located at the corner of Maple Street and Avenue A just east of the Business Leadership Building. JQ began its design work in late 2017, and construction on the project began in February of this year, according to JQ principal Akshai Ramakrishnan, P.E.
The stand-alone two-story dining hall will be approximately 36,400 gross square feet with a project budget of $25.47 million. The site has more than 7 feet of grade differential along the building, which requires steps in the interior footprint and several retaining conditions to accommodate access to the loading dock and the exterior grade profile. Mechanical equipment is supported on the low roof and screened.
The interior area will contain a kitchen with walk-in freezers, refrigerators and blast chillers, servery-designated space(s), an intermediate dining mezzanine, seating to accommodate 700 guests as well as 2,500 square feet of retail dining space. The design highlights flexibility in seating configurations, and the kitchen and servery areas will maximize the visibility and accessibility of freshly prepared foods.
“We encountered some challenges in structural design to meet the aesthetic intent of the roof and to accommodate support at the mid-level in the mezzanine structure,” says Ramakrishnan. The two-story volume at the main entry required large cantilevers and transfer columns to conceal or minimize the visibility of structural elements in the main dining space. Adds Ramakrishnan, “We’re proud to be part of the team delivering this complex project for UNT. The new dining hall will enhance the campus experience for current students and faculty and assist in the recruitment of future UNT students.”
Rogers-O’Brien Construction is the contractor, and Kirksey Architecture is the architect. Construction is targeted for completion in the first quarter of 2020.